On to November for Davis

On to November for Davis

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, easily defeated two challengers Tuesday in the Republican Party primary in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District.

Davis got about 53 percent of the vote in the sprawling district to 40 percent for Urbana attorney Erika Harold and 7 percent for Michael Firsching, a veterinarian from Moro in Madison County.

“I look forward to taking the positive messages that those two opponents gave to us throughout the campaign,” he said.

And he said he was “looking forward” to running against Democrat Ann Callis of Edwardsville in November.

“I look forward to having the distinct differences between the Republican vision for America and the Democrat vision for America,” he said, “and I look forward to talking about those differences over the next 7 1/2 months.”

Davis finished first Tuesday without winning Champaign County, the county with the largest voting bloc among the 14 counties in the district that arcs from Champaign-Urbana on the northeast to Collinsville and Edwardsville in Madison County on the southwest. 

As was the case in the 2012 general election, Davis finished second in a three-way race in Champaign County, with just 28 percent to Harold’s 70 percent.

In November 2012, he lost Champaign County by more than 11,000 votes to Democrat David Gill, a Bloomington physician. Independent candidate John Hartman was a distant third. But Davis won districtwide by 1,002 votes.

Tuesday’s was the first-ever primary election victory for Davis. He got the Republican nomination in 2012 by virtue of a vote, closed to the public, of the 14 county chairmen in the district, following a sudden decision by U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, not to seek re-election.

One of his opponents in that closed contest was Harold. 

She said last summer that the selection process by the GOP county chairmen “was fair last time. It was a process that had to be. But I think everyone at the time acknowledged that it would be best if the voters themselves were deciding.”

She said she wanted to give all the Republican voters in the district the opportunity to make the choice this time.

“I called Rep. Davis to congratulate him on his victory, and I feel very good about the race that I ran and have no regrets,” Harold said late Tuesday night. 

She said she planned to remain in Champaign-Urbana.

“I will continue the full-time practice of law at Meyer Capel,” she said of the Champaign law firm she joined last summer. 

As for politics, she said, “I have not begin to even contemplate that. The only thing I’m contemplating is the prospect of being able to get more sleep.”

“I have no idea what my political future would hold. My immediate plans are just to continue practicing law at Meyer Capel and to stay involved with some of the civic groups that I’m involved with, particularly Prison Fellowship, and to try to continue to make an impact in the Champaign-Urbana community,” Harold said.

She said it was “very important” to make the congratulatory call to Davis on Tuesday night.

“My goal was to run a positive campaign, and I wanted to end it in a positive way as well,” she said.

Leading up to Tuesday’s primary, Davis collected the endorsements of many of the top Republicans in the state, including U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, plus many of his U.S. House colleagues.

He also had a huge fundraising advantage over Harold and Firsching. As of Feb. 26, Davis had $1.114 million in his campaign account to $137,188 for Harold and less than $5,000 for Firsching.

Firsching was running in the 13th District for the second consecutive time. In the 2012 Republican primary, he got 6,706 votes, or about 13 percent, in the three-way race that Johnson won with 68.66 percent.

Asked if he’s in a stronger position as an incumbent than two years ago, Davis said. “I think clearly we’ve got a record of success, whether it’s working with the University of Illinois to ensure that our land grant universities were part of the Farm Bill, and working with our local leaders in Champaign and Urbana to talk more about investing in infrastructure.”

He said he expected “a very vigorous debate” over the Affordable Care Act.

“There are those who want to dig their heels in and try to defend this obvious disaster,” he said. “I think I’ve been very clear where I stand. I want to continue to repeal and replace this bill and put forth a commonsense solution that’s going to allow Americans to get the affordable care they were promised and get the access they were promised, which Obamacare clearly is not doing.”

He also said he thinks even more money will be spent in the general election campaign this year than in 2012 when more than $9.53 million was spent by the three candidates and independent groups in the 13th District.

“It’s a 50-50 district, and we only had a 5 1/2-month campaign the last time,” Davis said. “This is what being in a 50-50 district is all about.”


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wayward wrote on March 19, 2014 at 8:03 am

Given the vast difference in funding and the way some Republicans seemed to resent Harold for challenging an incumbent, I was surprised to see her even hit 40% district - wide.

OwlCreekObserver wrote on March 19, 2014 at 11:03 am

I had the great pleasure of meeting and speaking with Erika Harold a few days ago and was highly impressed.  The overwhelming majority of Republican primary voters in Champaign County clearly felt the same way, as evidenced by her resounding win here.  She is the real deal and a very bright star for the future of common sense conservatism, if the Republican power brokers ever become smart enough to afford her the opportunity to serve.

LincolnLounger wrote on March 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Lots of people begin their political careers in lower level offices, and it's too bad Erika didn't do that.  She could have built up her name and experience by running for county office or even the state legislature.  Think of what a great candidate she would have been running against Ammons for state rep. or even in the state senate race if Frerichs is elected statewide.

This isn't Champaign County's right to have the Congressman, and I think Erika was ill-served by the old Tim Johnson gang who were looking out for themselves.

Instead of nurturing her political career, she has stumbled.  I still think she can be a star, but I hope she has learned from this.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 19, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Davis refused to debate Harold with the exception of one last minute radio debate.  He will not be able to do that with Callis.  It may have worked for him in the primary election, but it will not fly in the general election.  Both of the only two political parties will pump lots of money into political ads.  The deciding factor in the election will be the independents.  They will be wanting to see the opinions of both candidates on national, and state issues.  They will not vote for a Max Headroom candidate. 

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on March 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Speaking as one Independent voter, I would like some real answers for a change, not the same old wishy-washy generalizations.  Davis wants to repeal Obamacare.....I'm willing to listen to what alternative he has, as ditching the whole program and going back to square one is NOT a viable solution. He needs to list specifics and how that would be better.  So far, I haven't heard ANY specifics from him or any other repub on this topic.  Also, Mr. Davis needs to realize that most Independent voters (in my opinion) are not social conservatives.  If he wants to rant about same-sex marriage or women's reproductive rights.....he's going to fail with the very voters that he will need to win (remember how close the last election was?).  As for Callis, I know very little about her position on anything other than she supports veterans and current troops.  That makes for nice commercials, but doesn't tell me much about her position on issues that are a little more pressing.  Everything is, once again, leading up to a very disappointing election day.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 19, 2014 at 7:03 pm

I agree.  That is why debates with specific questions to the candidates regarding the issues are important.  The candidates should not be allowed to give vague answers.  They should be specific in their responses.  A statewide series of debates over the next six months would provide clarity, and define the candidates to the voters.  I would be more impressed with political ads if the candidate gave their specific answers to the current problems instead of attacking their opponent.

Mr Dreamy wrote on March 19, 2014 at 2:03 pm

The Congressman beat the Coquette.

Go figure. 

spangwurfelt wrote on March 19, 2014 at 11:03 pm

The "coquette" with the Harvard Law degree. And yourself, Mr Dreamy, tell us about *your* academic accomplishments. When did you get *your* degree from the most competitive school in the nation?

Mr Dreamy wrote on March 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Harvard Law is not the most competitive school in the country. M.I.T, Stanford, and U Chicago are all more competitive. And the answer is 1972. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Harold lost so it is a moot point.  She did graduate with her law degree from Harvard.  Davis graduated from Milliken University in Decatur.  He proceeded with his undergrad degree to get involved in Illinois GOP politics, and worked his way up to becoming the selected rather than primary elected GOP congressman.  Harold will probably run for the office again against Callis during the 2018 election.

bluegrass wrote on March 20, 2014 at 2:03 pm

1972.  I guess that was before students were required to take sexual discrimination sensitivity training, huh?  

Mr Dreamy wrote on March 20, 2014 at 5:03 pm

If the comment about sexual discrimination sensitivity training was directed at me, perhaps you should look up what "coquette" means. Harold, despite her fans fawning over her, is an empty suit, platitudes without a track record or substance. 

How, in concrete terms, has she shown an interest in the people of this district? What has she actually done to show her dedication?

I wasn't dazzled by a beauty queen. I wanted demonstrated efficacy, not just "potential". The world is full of potential but we need people in leadership who have experience.

Send her out to get experience. Serve on a Board or Commission. Be a precinct committee person at least. Then maybe she'll have gravitas. Then maybe she'll get my vote. 

bluegrass wrote on March 23, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Well, you certainly made my... I mean your point.

Danno wrote on March 20, 2014 at 9:03 pm

After consulting my trusted Ouija Board, the 2022 election is expected to produce a head-to-head race, wih multiple re-counts, between Max Headroom and Jimmy Fallon; stay tuned to The Mystifying Oracle for future updates.